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From "Nick Lothian" <nloth...@educationau.edu.au>
Subject Proposal: A VM launcher
Date Fri, 13 May 2005 05:01:58 GMT

It seems people want something specific to work on. Here's an idea I
had:

Apache Harmony should develop a JVM launcher ("java"/"java.exe") that
uses a standard API (based on JNI_CreateJavaVM()) that will allow any VM
to be used. Note that this is different to the "alternatives" command in
Linux which makes it easy to switch between different launchers.

This would be an important step forward because it would make it easier
for developers to test on multiple VMs. It also has the benefit that of
being a fairly (very!) small, self contained piece of work that isn't
covered by any other cross platform project (AFAIK) but could be useful
to all of them.

The algorithm for VM selection could be as simple as user flags or it
could use heuristics to analyze the machine it is running on and select
an appropriate VM. 

The Sun VM currently has a similar mechanism that allows (for instance)
the JRockit VM to be used from a Sun JRE installation by editing one
config file and passing a command line argument:
http://www.neward.net/ted/weblog/index.jsp?date=20030307

Some useful documentation links:

Java JNI: http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.4.2/docs/guide/jni/spec/jniTOC.html
Creating a VM using JNI:
http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.4.2/docs/guide/jni/spec/invocation.html#wp159
56
Kaffe's launcher:
http://www.kaffe.org/cgi-bin/viewcvs.cgi/kaffe/kaffe/kaffe/main.c?rev=HE
AD&content-type=text/vnd.viewcvs-markup
Jsmooth: http://jsmooth.sourceforge.net/
Launch4J: http://launch4j.sourceforge.net/
Roll you own Java laucher:
http://www.neward.net/ted/Papers/RollYourOwnJava/index.html (beware that
this paper contains code from Sun's launcher - make sure you don't copy
that)

Nick


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